The Morning Mix

Leave a comment

– The Final Four certainly isn’t all chalk, but it’s filled with nothing but college basketball blue-bloods, which could make for an exciting week in New Orleans

Luke Winn takes the first look at the Final Four

– A Final Four of traditional powers should make for a bevy of interesting storylines to follow this week

– Despite a loaded Final Four field, not very many people had these four teams making in to New Orleans in their brackets

Kentucky and Ohio State are the favorites out of Vegas to be squaring off a week from tonight for the National Championship

– Did anybody think that Lenzelle Smith Jr. would have played as big of a role in the Buckeye’s march to the Final Four as he did?

John Calipari doesn’t like the “one and done” rule, but he sure knows how to use it

– Last week it was reported that Butler is rumored to be joining the Atlantic-10 Conference. Now we have word that George Mason and VCU might be making the move as well

– After being rejected by VCU head coach Shaka Smart, Illinois is targeting Ohio’s John Groce and Butler’s Brad Stevens. But Brad Stevens is staying at Butler, so Groce seems to be the key target for the Illini right now

– What type of coach does Duquesne need to hire? Ray Mernagh believes they need to get a proven winner

– Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy has turned down the offer to coach at UAB and will stay in Oxford

– 28-year old Bashir Mason will take over for Dan Hurley at Wagner, becoming the youngest D-I coach in the country

– A great-read on the reason why Frank Martin may or may not take the job at South Carolina

– Gregg Doyel points out that things could get interesting for North Carolina in 2012-2013. Tyler Zeller is graduating. Harrison Barnes is likely to head pro, and John Henson will probably go as well. That’s a big chuck of talent leaving. But keep an eye out for Kendall Marshall and James-Michael McAdoo, who could leave as well

– Word on the street is that Syracuse’s Dion Waiters “is definitely not coming back” and will enter the NBA Draft

– Speaking of Syracuse, here are three things that ‘Cuse fans don’t want to talk about right now

– It will be interesting to follow the decision-making process of Perry Jones III in the next few months. The Baylor forward returned to school in order to increase his draft stock and earn a chance at a Final Four. But how many players have seen their stock drop as much as PJ3? His inconsistancy and lack of toughness this season could be the reason he is no longer a lottery pick

– After a bittersweet end to the season, Indiana’s Christian Watford is still uncertain of his future

Considering this was “a down year” for the Big East, the end results aren’t too shabby

– With West Virgina bolting t0 the Big-XII, who will become the Pitt Panthers new rival?

– Maryland picked up another commitment , this time, in the form of Sam Cassell Jr.

– If you missed the Kentucky-Baylor game, then you missed out on one of the funniest student section dancers we’ve seen in a long, long time

Sunday’s NCAA Tournament Elite Eight schedule, tip times, and announcer pairings

Leave a comment

Regional Finals – Sunday, March 26

2:20 p.m.,CBS, New York
No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 4 Florida (Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce)

5:05 p.m., CBS, Memphis
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Kentucky (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)

Steve Alford: ‘I’m very happy at UCLA’

1 Comment

UCLA head coach Steve Alford was still processing an 86-75 season-ending loss to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 on Friday night when he had to answer questions about another blueblood program.

Sine the dismal of Tom Crean at Indiana, Alford has been one of the names rumored to be in the mix for the coaching vacancy. A reporter in the press conference in Memphis didn’t even get a chance to finish his question before Alford cut him off and a publicly state that he was happy in Westwood.

“I said it last week, and I’ll reiterate it again even more so, I guess, that I love Los Angeles,” Alford said. “To begin with, it’s a beautiful place, and our family has fallen in love with it. I’ve got two sons now, Kory first and now Bryce, that have graduated. Bryce is done, so he’s graduating from UCLA, so I’ve got two sons that are graduates from there, a daughter that loves the school she’s going to in Thousand Oaks. I’m very happy. I’m at UCLA. I don’t know of a lot of people that are out there wanting to leave UCLA.

“This is a pretty special place. We’ve worked awfully hard. Our staff has worked hard. We’ve got the No. 2 recruiting class coming in next year. We’re opening a brand-new, state-of-the-art, 60-plus million practice facility, Mo Ostin Center, that is going to be spectacular that we’ve worked awfully hard to be a part of that, and I want to see that through, and we’ve got some special kids that are coming to join us.

“I’m very, very happy where I’m at, and hopefully, that’ll continue.”

Alford won a national championship with the Hoosiers in 1987, scoring more than 2,400 points in his career under head coach Bob Knight. He has been with UCLA since 2013, reaching the Sweet 16 in three of his four seasons with the Bruins.

Crean was fired on March 16 after nine season in Bloomington.

Lonzo Ball has officially declared for the 2017 NBA Draft

2 Comments

Following a season-ending loss in the Sweet 16 of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, UCLA freshman point guard unsurprisingly announced that he will enter the NBA Draft.

“That was my final game for UCLA. I appreciate the fans,” Ball told reporters.

The 6-foot-6 point guard has a strong case to be the No. 1 overall pick. It could be almost too enticing for the Los Angeles Lakers to pass on a Southern Cal product if the ping pong balls fall in their favor. New Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka were in Memphis for Friday night’s Sweet 16 matchup with Kentucky.

Ball, in an All-American freshman season with the Bruins, averaged 14.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and a nation’s best 7.6 assists per game, while shooting 56 percent from the field and 42 percent from three.

He ended his college career with an 86-75 loss to the Wildcats, scoring 10 points, off 4-of-10 shooting, with eight assists.

VIDEO: Florida’s Chris Chiozza beats Wisconsin at the buzzer

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
7 Comments

NEW YORK — So you didn’t think the NCAA Tournament had enough excitement this year?

Wisconsin and Florida solved that problem for you.

The Badgers started things, as they erased a 12-point deficit in the final 4:15 to force overtime, a stretch that included an 8-0 run at the end of regulation that was capped by a Zak Showalter running three with 2.5 seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 72.

Wisconsin jumped out to a lead in overtime, but the combination of an inability to make free throws and and this epic chasedown block from Canyon Barry left the door open for the Gators, who eventually won the game on this running three from Chris Chiozza:

What.

A.

Game.

If we get a better one than this, I just hope I’m courtside for it.

KeVaughn Allen led the way for the Gators with 35 points, and no one else on the Gators scored more than eight points, but it didn’t matter. The Gators are still headed to the Elite 8, and Mike White will have a chance to play for the right to go to the Final Four in his first NCAA Tournaments.

Replacing a legend like Billy Donovan was never going to be easy, but White is doing an admirable job.

The other subplot here: With the win, Florida becomes the third member of the SEC in the Elite 8, and with a regional final against South Carolina on Sunday afternoon, it guarantees that there will be at least one SEC team in the Final Four.

While there were celebrations in the Florida locker room, Wisconsin’s was one of devastation.

The Badgers started four seniors, including tournament stalwarts Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes, who played in their 17th career NCAA Tournament games.

Hayes had 22 points, but he’s going to be haunted by the free throws he missed. He was 7-for-14 from the line on the night, including four missed freebies in overtime. The end was similarly heart-breaking for Koenig, as he was a non-factor in overtime due to an injury he suffered on the possession before Showalter’s game-tying three.

Both of them are going to spend years thinking ‘What if?’ That’s how the NCAA Tournament works.

Everyone leaves in tears, either because they’re cutting down the nets at the Final Four or because their season — their career — just came to an end.

Hayes and Koenig were no different.

VIDEO: Canyon Barry saves Florida with epic chase down block

Rob Carr/Getty Images
1 Comment

Florida’s Canyon Berry had the best chase down block since LeBron James in the 2016 NBA Finals.

It kept Wisconsin’s lead at two points and gave the Gators a chance to tie and, eventually, win the game.

Look at this: